The Caribou 25-cent piece is one of the iconic coins of the Canadian decimal series, having graced that denomination, with few exceptions, since the great coin redesign of 1937. However it has a history going back much longer, to the earliest days of the Royal Canadian Mint. In 1910, just two years after the Mint, then classed as the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint, started operating, a new Currency Act was passed by Parliament. That law saw a coming of age of the RCM, as it called for the striking of gold coins, a silver dollar as well as the more common dates already being produced. The dollar coin had been kicked around as an idea for some time, and preparations were begun that year for a striking of 1911 silver dollars. Eventually, the decision was scrapped and only a few patterns were produced. Only three are known to collectors today, one silver and one lead pattern are in the National Currency Collection, and a single silver pattern, which is in the hands of a private collector. Continue reading →
very once in a while, there is talk of selling off the Mint, since the Crown corporation has become pretty good at turning a profit. The talk started back in the mid-’90s, shortly after the federal government sold off the Canadian National Railway Company. The last time the idea was looked at seriously, it was determined that the Mint was better off being government-owned. The logic was, and it made a lot of sense, that much of the Crown corporation’s business is a direct or indirect result of being owned by the Government of Canada. Being a national mint gives the RCM sustainability, and many foreign governments would prefer to deal with a mint that answers ultimately to a federal cabinet minister than one driven purely by the winds of profit.
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